Dr. Edris Makward is Vice Chancellor, University of the Gambia, West Africa and is Emeritus Professor of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Dr. Makward is a founding member and past president of the West African Research Association (WARA) and past president of ASA (African Studies Association) and of ALA (African Literature Association). His most recent publications are The Growth of African Literature: Twenty-Five Years after Dakar and Fourah Bay (Annual Selected Papers of the ALA, No. 3) and Continental North-South and Diaspora Connections and Linkages (Annual Selected ALA Papers 2004), published by Africa World Press.2006 0-7734-5908-1
The West African Research Association (WARA) was founded for the purpose of promoting scholarly collaboration between American and West African researchers and to increase interest in international affairs among Americans through a reciprocal program of research exchange between scholars and institutions. It is the first institution of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, one of fifteen American overseas research centers around the world founded by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) with help from the Smithsonian Institute.
In June 1997, WARA held its first international symposium in Dakar, Senegal titled West Africa and the Global Challenge
. Approximately 150 scholars from the U.S., Europe, and Africa attended this meeting, and the sessions were divided under three broad headings: The African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean; West African Research in History, Art, Languages, Religion, Culture, and Literature; and Contemporary Issues in Society, Environment, Technology, and Education.
This is a compilation of selected essays that were presented at the 1997 symposium. The work strives to achieve the views and discussions from the first annual WARA symposium and its continuing contribution to the ongoing dialogue of West African issues.